Nine-year-old Tye Schaffer was chosen as the honorary chairperson for the 2019 It Only Takes a Spark Cancer Walk on June 14 at Lake Farley Park in Milbank. He will lead the first lap in the Survivor Walk. Tye is the youngest honorary chairperson to be selected in the 22-year history of Milbank’s cancer walk.
Tye was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2018, but says his illness is now in remission. “I am on a two-year treatment plan where I go to Sanford Children’s Hospital once a month for IVs. I will also be taking a lot of pills for two years.”
He says he wants to tell other people with cancer – especially kids – that cancer is not fun. “But don’t let cancer stop you from doing what you really want to do.” This summer, he is attending a basketball camp and the summer reading program. Plus, he’s busy preparing for 4-H Achievement Days and getting his pony ready for the Grant County Horse Show.
“My pony,” he says, “is not too tall, so I can get on her easily. Her name is Twist because she looks like a twist cone.” (Just don’t tell her, his favorite food is actually pizza.)
How did this soon-to-be fourth grader get through that dark tunnel called Cancer? Ty attributes his recovery to all the prayers from people in the community and elsewhere. He describes himself as brave, humorous, and smart – certainly qualities to draw upon when navigating a serious illness. These same traits should prove to be equally helpful when he grows up. He plans to be a farmer.